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Editorial: More Medicaid Access

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If you are one of the many New Mexicans who have trouble finding a health care provider that takes Medicaid, there’s good news.

Molina Healthcare Inc., a publicly traded health insurance company based in Long Beach, Calif., has opened the first of four clinics in the state to serve its Medicaid health plan members, Medicare and Medicaid fee-for-service beneficiaries, and the uninsured. Officials say the company, which has a state contract to provide Medicaid managed care, will absorb the cost for those who can’t pay.

The first clinic will be open weekdays in Santa Fe. It will be staffed by a nurse practitioner, a medical assistant, a receptionist and an administrator. Molina plans to open a clinic in November in Albuquerque. Belen and Las Cruces clinics are also planned.

The clinics will offer primary medical care, immunizations, preventive care and some lab services.

New Mexico’s $3.9 billion Medicaid program serves about 560,000 New Mexicans. But many providers do not accept those patients because of the low reimbursement rates, volumes of required paperwork and long waits for payment.

Molina is to be commended for stepping up to provide health services to low-income patients. New Mexicans should be watching to see if the clinics give patients heathier outcomes, relieve pressure on emergency rooms and cut overall health care costs.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

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